Our favorite Twitter ‘bot--no, like an actual robot that tweets--is out of the box and live-tweeting its new life on the International Space Station. Robonaut 2 was actually unboxed several months ago (it was delivered by the final Discovery mission in February) but has been sitting idly, waiting for the crew to get around to firing it up. Now R2 is plugged in, and man is it ever chatty.
Commanding an army of drones is one thing; letting drones command themselves is something else entirely, especially when they have very little in common. Boeing recently tested a swarm network to help disparate drones work together, sending two types of unmanned aerial vehicles on a reconnaissance mission over eastern Oregon.
Until companies start launching private spaceships, Russian-built space capsules will be the only way to get astronauts up to the International Space Station or other orbital outposts. If these images are accurate at all, Russian-built spacecraft might as well stay the only option. Doesn't this look cozy?
Guide dogs are great, but vision-impaired people sometimes need to find their own way through complex environments. Instead of checking for obstacles with a trademark white stick, inventor Steve Hoefer has another idea: Use wrist-mounted sonar. Hoefer designed a haptic gauntlet with ultrasonic sensors mounted just over the knuckles. The Tacit, as it's called, is encased in a neoprene cuff and can sense objects from about two and a half centimetres all the way up to 3 metres.
Carmakers have spent the past few years aggressively downsizing engines throughout their lineups to meet increasingly tight fuel-economy regulations. But with the sole exception of the three-cylinder Smart Fortwo, four cylinders is as low as carmakers have expected Americans to go. Three-cylinders are common in Europe but have been scorned in the U.S., where they're tainted by association with claptrap cars like the mousy Geo Metro. Now, with fuel-economy standards set to rise as high as 90.4 kph by 2025, Ford is planning to bring the three-cylinder to the American mainstream.
Dual-core processors have been a computing mainstay for more than six years, allowing machines to handle two tasks at once without sacrificing speed in either. This year, dual-core chips have begun popping up in app-hungry phones. The next step: cameras. The Olympus PEN E-P3 is the first digital camera running on a dual-core chip, which lets it capture, retouch, and save shots nearly twice as fast as most competitors.
A dog can accurately detect the early presence of lung cancer by sniffing patients' breath, doctors in Germany say. While researchers have known for some time that dogs can sniff out the telltale signs of other forms of cancer, this is the first study that proves dogs can reliably smell this particular kind.
Digital recording binoculars aren't really new--there are some cheapie versions available--but Sony's new DEV-3 and DEV-5 binoculars lift that humble tech into some really impressive new places. Instead of taking a regular set of binoculars and cramming a cheap video recording device into them, Sony took its high-end HD camcorders and molded them into the shape of binoculars. That means they can both record in 720p (high-def) and in 3-D--these might be the perfect tools for birdwatchers and other nature-types (as opposed to snipers).
Today, in an almost insultingly brief statement in the middle of a press release about something else entirely, HP killed off its most recent acquisition, and perhaps its most beloved platform: WebOS, the mobile OS designed by the scrappy gurus at Palm. It's a bitter, inconsequential end for an OS that in its own way paved as much ground as the iPhone, and that even in its current decrepit state is a damn fine platform. WebOS, you deserved better.
Brunico, Italy - A snowy K-Mart parking lot would have worked fine. But this being Ferrari, and the star its tradition-shredding FF - a $300,000 all-wheel-drive station wagon -- a little high-altitude showboating seemed in order. So with a boost from the Italian army's Chinook helicopters, Ferrari flew a pair of FF's to the windswept peak of Plan de Corones, a popular ski resort in its wondrous Dolomites, and told us to have at it. Ridiculous? Why, yes. But no more so than a 208-mph, 651-horsepower Italian pony that can carry four tall adults and cargo while galloping safely over snow, ice, dirt or puddles on the Pomona freeway.
As promised, Lockheed Martin finally put its SAMARAI monocopter drone on display at AUVSI's drone extravaganza in DC this week, for the first time flying it before a public audience as PopSci and everyone else in the air demo area looked on in awe. After all, the thing has just one rapidly rotating wing - it doesn't really look like it can stay aloft by itself. Seeing, however, is believing.